B-155520, FEB. 10, 1965

B-155520: Feb 10, 1965

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WERE TO BE BRAND NAME OR EQUAL. WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY SCHEDULED IN THE IFB FOR AUGUST 24. IT WAS YOUR CONTENTION THAT IF THE PROCUREMENT WERE DELAYED LONG ENOUGH. WE HAVE BEEN ADVISED THAT THE PROCUREMENT IN QUESTION WAS A FIRST-TIME PROCUREMENT FOR THE ARMY. BID OPENING WAS EXTENDED TO SEPTEMBER 15 TO PERMIT REVIEW OF THE SPECIFICATIONS. DURING THE SAME PERIOD A QUESTION WAS RAISED WITHIN THE PROCUREMENT AGENCY REGARDING THE MINIMUM NEEDS OF THE USER AGENCY. AS A RESULT OF WHICH THE BID OPENING WAS EXTENDED FOUR MORE TIMES. IT DEVELOPED THAT THE USER AGENCY WAS UNABLE TO SUPPLY SALIENT CHARACTERISTICS OF THE PROCUREMENT ITEM OR TO EVALUATE AN "OR EQUAL" ITEM. THERE WERE INDICATIONS THAT THE TESTING FOR WHICH THE ITEM WAS INTENDED COULD BE ACCOMPLISHED BY THE USE OF AVAILABLE EQUIPMENT IN THE APPROPRIATE ECHELON SHOPS.

B-155520, FEB. 10, 1965

TO MR. PETER L. KROHN, ENGINEERING CONSULTANT:

YOUR LETTER OF OCTOBER 29, 1964, PROTESTS THE POSTPONEMENT OF OPENING OF BIDS UNDER INVITATION FOR BIDS NO. AMC/E) 36-039-65-042 3,ISSUED BY THE UNITED STATES ARMY ELECTRONICS COMMAND, PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA.

THE IFB SOLICITED BIDS TO FURNISH 233 SIGNAL GENERATORS, CONSISTING OF SEVERAL SUB-ITEMS, TOGETHER WITH CERTAIN DATA. THE SUB-ITEMS, DESIGNATED BY HEWLETT-PACKARD MODEL NUMBERS, WERE TO BE BRAND NAME OR EQUAL.

AT THE TIME OF YOUR PROTEST, THE DATE OF BID OPENING, WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY SCHEDULED IN THE IFB FOR AUGUST 24, HAD BEEN EXTENDED FIVE TIMES, THE LATEST DATE BEING NOVEMBER 16. IT WAS YOUR CONTENTION THAT IF THE PROCUREMENT WERE DELAYED LONG ENOUGH, THERE WOULD NOT BE SUFFICIENT TIME TO ENTERTAIN COMPETITIVE BIDS AND THE CONTRACT WOULD BE AWARDED ON A SOLE SOURCE BASIS TO HEWLETT-PACKARD "AT A PRICE FAR ABOVE THAT WHICH A RELIABLE AND RESPONSIBLE BIDDER WOULD CHARGE.'

IN A REPORT DATED JANUARY 25, 1965, FROM HEADQUARTERS, UNITED STATES ARMY MATERIEL COMMAND, WE HAVE BEEN ADVISED THAT THE PROCUREMENT IN QUESTION WAS A FIRST-TIME PROCUREMENT FOR THE ARMY. PREVIOUSLY, THE ITEM HAD BEEN FURNISHED TO THE NAVY UNDER SPECIFICATIONS WHICH THE NAVY CONSIDERED INADEQUATE.

PRIOR TO THE ORIGINALLY SCHEDULED DATE OF BID OPENING IN AUGUST, TWO OF THE PROSPECTIVE BIDDERS QUESTIONED THE ADEQUACY OF THE ARMY SPECIFICATIONS. ACCORDINGLY, BID OPENING WAS EXTENDED TO SEPTEMBER 15 TO PERMIT REVIEW OF THE SPECIFICATIONS. DURING THE SAME PERIOD A QUESTION WAS RAISED WITHIN THE PROCUREMENT AGENCY REGARDING THE MINIMUM NEEDS OF THE USER AGENCY, AS A RESULT OF WHICH THE BID OPENING WAS EXTENDED FOUR MORE TIMES. ON OCTOBER 28, AT A MEETING BETWEEN THE CONTRACTING OFFICER AND REPRESENTATIVES OF THE USER AGENCY, IT DEVELOPED THAT THE USER AGENCY WAS UNABLE TO SUPPLY SALIENT CHARACTERISTICS OF THE PROCUREMENT ITEM OR TO EVALUATE AN "OR EQUAL" ITEM. ALSO, THERE WERE INDICATIONS THAT THE TESTING FOR WHICH THE ITEM WAS INTENDED COULD BE ACCOMPLISHED BY THE USE OF AVAILABLE EQUIPMENT IN THE APPROPRIATE ECHELON SHOPS. IT WAS THEREFORE CONCLUDED THAT A NEED FOR THE ITEM NO LONGER EXISTED. ACCORDINGLY, ON NOVEMBER 5, ALL ACTION ON THE PROCUREMENT WAS SUSPENDED, AND ON NOVEMBER 12, THERE WAS ISSUED AMENDMENT NO. 6 TO THE IFB CANCELLING THE PROCUREMENT IN ITS ENTIRETY. ALL BIDDERS WERE NOTIFIED OF THE CANCELLATION.

IN THE CIRCUMSTANCES, THE POSTPONEMENTS OF BID OPENING APPEAR TO HAVE BEEN IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE UNITED STATE. ALSO, THE CANCELLATION OF THE IFB APPEARS TO HAVE BEEN CONSISTENT WITH ARMED SERVICES PROCUREMENT REGULATION 2-208, WHICH RECOGNIZES THAT WHERE THERE IS NO LONGER A REQUIREMENT FOR THE SUPPLIES OR SERVICES, CANCELLATION OF A PROCUREMENT IS CLEARLY IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST.

ON THE BASIS OF THE REPORTED FACTS, IT DOES NOT APPEAR THAT ANY FURTHER ACTION ON YOUR PROTEST IS REQUIRED.